At the this this was written, it was 104 degrees in Phoenix, with a projected high of 110.
Summer is coming.
Since we all know that ignorance is bliss when it comes to Phoenix summers, here are five concerts, all in climate-controlled, air conditioned environments, that will make you forget you live in the middle of an inhospitable desert.
And if none of these suggestions strike a chord, you can check out our comprehensive concert listings for more options.
History owes as much to accident as it does to ambition. Take the story of how Washington, D.C.-rooted (mostly) instrumental rock trio Trans Am became a pioneering name in a hot new genre because of someone else's negligence.
"We did have a singer -- a friend of ours -- and he would never show up for rehearsal, so we kicked him out at one point," drummer/keyboardist Sebastian Thomson says, rewinding to around 1993. "We had gotten used to the three of us just playing as bass, drums, and guitar. Nobody was really singing in rehearsal at all, so we thought, 'Oh, well, maybe this is fine as it is.'"
By following those instincts, Trans Am unwittingly became one of the earliest examples of a post-rock band. Music journalist Simon Reynolds coined the descriptor "post-rock" in 1994 to characterize a wave of underground-friendly groups who trafficked in experimental, instrumental rock. The term was quickly applied to the likes of Trans Am, Don Caballero, Ui, and Tortoise; the latter's style would lay the most significant foundation for how post-rock would be interpreted in the years to come. --Reyan Ali Hugh Laurie - Tuesday, June 3 - Mesa Arts Center
Dr. House can do more than just act. Hugh Laurie is best known for his work in front of a camera, but lesser-known (but almost as impressive) is his work in front of the keys. Yes, Laurie is a competent jazz pianist, having released two albums in recent years, 2011's Let Them Talk and 2013's Didn't It Rain. His music is as polished and refined as his silky British accent, and we can only hope he's as charming in person as he is on television. --David Accomazzo tUnE-yArDs - Tuesday, June 2 - Crescent Ballroom
Following her critically acclaimed sophomore album Whokill, it seems tUnE-yArDs' brainchild Merrill Garbus was crippled with self-doubt, perhaps gripped by a feeling known as the Imposter Syndrome. As she chirps in her song "My Country," "The worst thing about living a lie / Is just wondering when they'll find out."
Whenever it comes to musicians with the same caliber of "quirky" intensity (Björk, St. Vincent, etc.), the authenticity of the artist is always called into question. Which is kind of annoying and stupid of critics to do. Garbus was not immune to this scrutiny, but by reinventing herself on her third album, Nikki Nack, which came out in May, she proved she was legit. If "Real Thing" doesn't speak to that, then nothing does. --Troy Farah The Yawpers - Wednesday, June 3 - Yucca Tap Room
The Yawpers, born in Boulder, Colorado, and residing in Denver, Colorado, are the country's greatest acoustic guitar rock band this side of Tenacious D. Aided by a carefully thought-out selection of pedals and amps, singer-guitarist Nate Cook and lead guitarist Jesse Parmet (in front of drummer Noah Shomberg) manage to coax a surprisingly full sound out of their axes, and they are capable of anything from soft, alluring ballads to a balls-to-the-wall cover of Mötorhead's "Ace of Spades," complete with a ragingly plucked acoustic guitar solo. But beneath Cook's gravelly, whiskey-worn voice and testosterone-pumped songwriting lies a keen street-poet's eye for storytelling. The band is, after all, named after a line from Walt Whitman's "Song of Myself" (in which the poet promises to "sound my barbaric yawp over the roofs of the world"), plays a song called "Bartleby the Womanizer," and casually name-drops David Foster Wallace mid-song. The combination of brains and brawn makes for a night in which you can either lose yourself in sweaty rock 'n' roll fever or spend the night pondering the meaning of lyrics like, "Living my life with my head in the sand / Praise the Lord, I'm an American man." --David Accomazzo Ester Rada - Thursday, June 5 - Musical Instrument Museum Theater
Ester Rada is an Israeli-Ethiopian singer with a sound reflecting her worldly heritage. Soul, R&B, jazz and more all make her way into her music, which is coated with Middle Eastern influence. The overall effect is somewhat hypnotic and otherworldly, capable of transporting you in a heartbeat to the other side of the world. --David Accomazzo
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